CPR for Pets: Yes, It’s a Thing!

Regarding our furry friends, our love and devotion have no boundaries. We shower them with love and affection and give them the best care possible. But what happens when our pet faces a medical emergency? Do you know what to do to help them?

If you want to learn how to potentially save your pet’s life when professional help is not available, you are in the right place. In this article, we will explore the importance of CPR for pets, how to perform it, and the main points that make all the difference.

Nestled in the heart of East Tennessee, Knoxville is a place that values animal lives as much as human ones.

The Importance of CPR for Pets

Pets can experience medical crises, including cardiac arrest, just like humans. These emergencies can occur for many reasons, such as choking, trauma, drowning, or some underlying medical conditions. Educating yourself on how to perform pet CPR can tremendously help your beloved animal in such critical situations.

However, many pet owners don’t realize that CPR is just as important for our four-legged companions, and here are the major reasons why learning CPR for pets is crucial:

Fast Response Saves Lives

Same as with SCA in people, time is invaluable when it comes to saving your pet’s life. If they are choking, not breathing, or have lost consciousness, you should immediately start performing CPR.

A proper CPR technique helps maintain the necessary blood flow and oxygen to the pet’s vital organs until the vet arrives. Knowing what to do in such a critical moment is necessary to save your pet’s life.

In the following text, we will get more specific about the CPR steps and the whole process:

Peace of Mind

Our pets are our family, and knowing we can help them in emergency situations will give us peace. Being confident and skilled in performing CPR for pets is a really important aspect in order to help them when their lives are at risk.

The Benefit of Being Prepared for Pet Emergencies

Preparation is key when it comes to pet emergencies. Here are the major steps you can take to be ready to provide CPR for your dogs and cats when needed:

      • Take pet CPR and first aid courses.

      • Prepare a pet first aid kit. A pet first aid kit includes items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, scissors, and a pet-specific CPR mask.

      • Keep track of your pet’s health and any pre-existing conditions that may be risk factors. Regular check-ups at the vet are necessary for your pet’s health.

      • Have a list of emergency contact numbers, including your veterinarian, nearby emergency animal clinics, and poison control centers.

      • Practice the steps for pet CPR. The more you practice and refresh your skills in pet CPR, the more effectively you will respond in an emergency.

    Understanding CPR for Dogs and Cats

    Before diving into the step-by-step process of performing CPR on your pets, it’s essential to understand the key differences between pet CPR and human CPR:

    Anatomy Differences

    While dogs and cats have similar organ systems to humans, there are still big differences:

        • Chest Compressions: With people, chest compressions should be performed on the lower half of the sternum, while for dogs and cats, the compression point is slightly higher on the chest, just behind their elbow.

        • Mouth-to-Snout Ventilation: While humans receive mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths, pets need mouth-to-snout ventilation. This means that you need to seal your pet’s mouth and blow air directly into their nostrils.

      When to Use CPR for Dogs and Cats

      Knowing when to perform CPR on your pets is crucial. CPR is necessary in the following scenarios:

          • If your pet is unresponsive.

          • If your pet has no heartbeat.

          • If your pet is not breathing.

          • When your pet is choking.

          • If your pet is drowning and is unresponsive.

          • In cases of severe injury or trauma, where your pet has stopped breathing or has no heartbeat.

          • If your pet has suffered an electric shock and is unresponsive.

        Keep in mind that it’s essential to start CPR immediately and continue until your pet starts breathing spontaneously or until professional help arrives.

        Main Steps for Dog and Cat CPR

        Before you start pet CPR, remember the CPR steps known as “ABCs – airways, breathing, and circulation:

            • Airway – Check if your pet’s airway is clear. Before administering CPR, make sure that there is nothing stuck in your pet’s throat.

            • Breathing – Check if your pet is breathing by watching their chest for any signs of movement or putting your hand close to their nose. If your pet is breathing, you don’t need to give them CPR.

            • Circulation – Check their heartbeat; the pulse points differ based on the pet you have. If you can feel their heartbeat, you don’t need to give them CPR.

          Key Steps in CPR for Dogs and Cats

          Pet CPR involves two primary components: chest compressions and artificial respiration (mouth-to-snout ventilation). Here are the basic steps on how to perform CPR on dogs and cats:

              • Ensure safety. Remove any potential hazards or dangers.

              • Check for responsiveness. Tap them gently and call out their name. Check for any signs of responsiveness. If your pet is unresponsive, continue to the next steps.

              • Check breathing

              • Begin chest compressions

              • Give Mouth-to-snout ventilation

              • Continue CPR

              • Check for signs of life

              • Transport your pet to a vet.

            We will now go into the specifics regarding CPR for dogs and cats.

            CPR for Dogs and Cats

            Here’s a detailed guide on how to perform CPR for pets:

            CPR for Dogs

            Here are the CPR steps for dogs:

                • Put your dog on a flat surface. Place them on the right side.

                • If you have a small dog, use the heel of your hand and place it directly on your dog’s heart. Put your other hand on top of it.

                • Perform compressions to the chest with a depth of at least 1/3 and no more than 1/2 the width of the chest.

                • Perform the compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute.

                • After a set of 30 compressions, give 2 rescue breaths.

                • Continue this cycle until your dog starts breathing or until professional help takes over.

              CPR for Cats

              Here are the CPR steps for cats:

                  • Put your cat on a flat surface on the right side. Gently extend their neck and head upwards.

                  • Place the heel of one hand over the chest behind the elbow.

                  • With your other hand, give support to the cat’s back.

                  • Check if your cat’s airway is blocked and position their tongue forward. Be careful not to harm the tiny bones that are part of the larynx.

                  • Apply gentle pressure, compressing the chest with about one-third to one-half depth.

                  • Do 100-120 compressions per minute.

                  • After a set of 30 compressions, give 2 rescue breaths.

                  • Make breaks. Press on your cat’s stomach to drive out the built-up air.

                  • Continue with this cycle until your cat starts breathing or the vet is around to help.

                Heimlich Maneuver on Dogs

                The Heimlich maneuver is a life-saving intervention for choking cases. If your dog is not breathing because some object is blocking its airway, you need to administer the Heimlich maneuver adjusted for dogs. To do it, stand behind the dog, make a fist just below its ribcage, and perform fast, firm thrusts inward and upward toward the spine.

                Check the dog’s airway after each thrust, and repeat until the obstructing object is thrown out or until the dog can breathe normally. If the object is expelled and the dog is still not breathing, you should start performing CPR.

                Remember to look for immediate veterinary care afterwards, as there may be damage or complications in their airway. When it comes to choking, prevention is key, so be cautious about objects that your dog can swallow to avoid choking problems, especially during mealtime and playtime.

                Causes of SCA and Heart Attack in Pets

                SCA and heart attacks in pets, particularly dogs and cats, can be caused by a variety of factors, many of which are similar to those in humans.

                The causes of SCA in pets include:

                    • Cardiac Arrhythmias

                    • Congenital Heart Defects

                    • Heart Disease

                    • Electrolyte Imbalances

                    • Toxicity

                  The causes of heart attacks in pets include:

                      • Blood clots

                      • Atherosclerosis

                      • Trauma or injury

                      • Underlying health problems.


                    CPR for pets may not be as widespread as CPR for people, but it’s just as important. When your furry friend faces a medical emergency, it is crucial to know how to perform CPR and increase their chances of survival until you take them to a vet hospital in Knoxville.

                    To conclude, educating yourself about CPR for pets in Knoxville is essential. Pets are family, and their health is worth every effort, including educating yourself about pet CPR. The good thing is that you can get certified in CPR and be even more confident providing help.